Naming Your Sermon
Among our most popular posts are the ones on Sermon Titles. There is just not that much information in book form or on the web on the issue. However, one might be able to learn from other people who have to title something. The other day I found this site that talks about titling a book.
There are 7 approaches. I began to think about how this might translate into a sermon title. So I looked at each one and thought about the implications for sermon titling. For this post I will take a sermon I preached entitled “God’s Perspective” on the book of Habakkuk that emphasized that Habakkuk was confused about God’s actions before he saw it from God’s perspective. I was never really happy with the title so perhaps this site can help me come up with a better one.
The first approach is to make a command. The example given on the website was “Write your Best Book Ever.” Perhaps we could use a title like “Change Your Perspective.” That doesn’t really feel like a command. Maybe a little more dramatic like, “Look Up!” Assuming that up will be a change of perspective rather than looking around. That feels a little better. Plus it easily translates into a refrain that can be used in the close of the sermon. “You might see the wicked winning….All I gotta tell ya is Look Up…..etc….” Look Up feels better to me than my original God’s Perspective.
The next approach is how to. The example given on the website was “How to Make Your Article Go the Extra Mile.” I don’t really like How-To titles because the sermon could degenerate into a lecture and as I have written elsewhere the sermon ain’t a lecture. But a how to title might be “How to Answer the Unanswerable Question.” Here the sermon emphasizes HabakkukÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s question of why God allows evil. The sermon attempts to answer the question. However, the sermon didn’t really answer that question so I probably should go on. Another title might be “How to Wait for The Answer.” That is better because the sermon actually addressees Habakkuk waiting for the answer that ultimately comes from God. One could use illustrations from life on waiting. In any case this sermon title is better than my original one.
The Provocative Statement
The example given in the website was “5 Mistakes to Avoid That Drive Your Web Visitors Away In Less Than 2 Minutes.” A possible sermon title in line with this approach would be: “God’s Answers Don’t Make Sense.” The sermon could deal with the fact that God does answer, but often we dont’ want to follow or believe the answer.
A question-title might be: “Why Wait on the Answer?” Here Habakkuk had 3 questions and the last one he had to wait on the answer. However when the answer came it provoked a response of worship and thanksgiving in chapter 3.
The Big Promise
A Big promise might be: “You Gonna Celebrate When you Hear the Answer.” I would probably shorten that to “Wait till you Hear it.” Here the sermon emphasizes that the answer will come, and when you hear it you will celebrate.
A thought in line with the previous ideas is “Celebrating Tomorrow’s Answer.” However that does not really seem to be confusing. I think I should try to mix metaphors. This is actually a very difficult thing to do. However a more appropriate title might be: “3 Questions, 2 Answers, and a Shout.” Here HabakkukÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 3 questions are reduced to 2 answers and then there is the more complex answer which becomes God’s answer and HabakkukÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s praise for it. So the 3rd answer is actually both God’s answer and HabakkukÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s response to the answer. In previous questions Habakkuk was almost an adversary of God, but in this one the two become one in the praise.
The Top Benefit
A Top Benefit Sermon Title might be: “Praising for the Answers.”
One thing that is interesting about this exercise is that it helped to clarify what the sermon would be about. Such an approach is probably a valuable exercise for all preachers when thinking about titling a sermon. I don’t think that this list is the best one for sermons, but it can be used to think of better sermon titles. I think that the title, “Wait till you Hear it.” is much better than my original title, “God’s Perspective” so this method did work.